(mahr uh na' thuh) An Aramaic expression Paul used (1 Corinthians 16:22) in closing a letter to the church at Corinth. Having prayed that those who do not love Christ (compare
1 Corinthians 13:1) would be anathema (see anathema), Paul used a formula probably used in celebration of the Lord's Supper to pray that Christ would come. This highlighted the urgency of showing love to Christ. One way to show such love would be to obey Paul's instructions in 1 Corinthians. Maranatha is actually two Aramaic words. Dividing it as Marana tha means, “Our Lord, come.” Maran atha means, “Our Lord has come.” It reveals the expectant hope in which early Christmas lived, watching for the imminent return of Christ. The division of the phrase is disputed by scholars. Whichever division is correct, the Aramaic formula shows that very early the church applied to Jesus the word Lord which otherwise belonged only to God.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'MARANATHA'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".